More than 70 percent of non-professional teachers in five districts of the Northern and Upper East regions are frequently absent from school, a situation which is adversely affecting effective teaching and learning.
According to a joint study undertaken by the Northern Network for Education and Development (NNED) and Ibis, it was found out that 70 percent of professional teachers were in school at the time the research teams visited the schools with 30 percent of non-professional teachers during the same period.
Mr. Eric Duorinaah, a facilitator at a roundtable discussion on Teacher Absenteeism, made the findings known, in Tamale, on Monday.
It was funded by the Results for Development, (R4D) under the Transparency and Accountability Project (TAP) of the United States of America.
He said the study was conducted in 30 public basic schools with a population of 240 pupils and 93 teachers, 70 of whom were males, and 30 head teachers.
The research was conducted in the Gushiegu, East-Gonja and Tolon/Kumbungu districts of the Northern region and Builsa and Bongo districts in the Upper East region.
It also found out that 70 percent of teachers who live outside the communities report late and depart early from school.
He said the study further found out that teacher absenteeism was more prevalent among male teachers than female teachers with the average number of days per week in which teachers reported late and departed early being on Thursdays and Fridays.
Mr. Duorinaah attributed some of the reasons for teacher absenteeism to social, economic, health, transport, accommodation and other issues.
He said in the Bongo and Builsa districts, health related issues accounted for high cases of teacher absenteeism with the female teachers being frequently absent due to issues of maternity, domestic chores and the unwillingness to accept postings to the remote rural areas.
He said teacher accommodation and transport were other issues accounting for absenteeism with about 40 percent of teachers having to daily commute from the urban areas to the rural areas.
He said the study revealed that poor leadership and lack of supervision by head teachers also contributed to absenteeism in schools.
In the light of the findings, Mr. Duorinaah said the study made a number of recommendations such as the establishment of a teacher mentor programme, which could help new teachers learn the rules regarding absenteeism, good leadership and effective supervision and monitoring.
It would also build the capacity of head teachers and enhance community involvement in teacher supervision as some of the measures to minimise teacher absenteeism in schools.
Mr. Musah Jawula, Executive Committee Chairman of the NNED, said the Network was focused on lobbying government and other decision makers to formulate better policies and also commit more resources to basic education in Northern Ghana.
He said since its inception in 2001, the NNED had through its advocacy work ensured that some rural schools now had more trained teachers thereby reducing the high Pupil Teacher Ratios and contributing to quality learning in schools.
He said the Networks engagement with the district assemblies had resulted in some of them supporting a number of rural schools with pieces of furniture adding that the government’s recent increase of the capitation grant by 50 percent could partly be attributed to NNEDs work together with other Civil Society Organisations.